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Allskate
03-31-2010, 11:51 PM
It is definitely way better as compared to the junk food they're serving in the cafeteria today. Fresh cooked meal is still far superior in my book. :)

In the context of school lunches, I'm not sure this is true. There's not much nutritional difference between a meal prepared that morning and a meal prepared the night before and warmed up. But, if we demand that each individual school spend the money on staff to cook food fresh the morning it is served, the quality of the ingredients is probably going to have to be less expensive and therefore probably not as nutritious, healthy, and environmentally friendly.

moojja
04-01-2010, 12:37 AM
In the context of school lunches, I'm not sure this is true. There's not much nutritional difference between a meal prepared that morning and a meal prepared the night before and warmed up. But, if we demand that each individual school spend the money on staff to cook food fresh the morning it is served, the quality of the ingredients is probably going to have to be less expensive and therefore probably not as nutritious, healthy, and environmentally friendly.
There is always frozen and canned foods. And frozen peas and canned spinach have similar nutritious values compared to freshly picked. This article makes some really good points about our assumptions: http://www.slate.com/id/2248882/

JumpinBug
04-01-2010, 03:48 AM
What about working with some of the local colleges and their culinary programs? It would give the college students some experience with large groups and put some extra people in the kitchen to help out the cafeteria workers so they have time to make things fresh. Even if it's like once a week and they make things and freeze them for the rest of the week.

This is actually the case at my high school. The local college runs their culinary arts program through our school, with a cafeteria for students, and frozen meals/cafe for the public. They're free labour, getting valuable training, and it benefits the school. And it occasionally tastes good. ;)

Cyn
04-01-2010, 11:55 AM
MiniCyn and I watched this last Friday. I'd been planning to, and I made her watch it with me - she pouted about it for about three days beforehand, but was riveted to it once it started.

Boy howdy, have times changed in 25 years! At the public school I attended in the 80s, we didn't have a menu of choices - there was one entree, two veggies, one starch, fresh made rolls, and if we were lucky, a dessert of some sort (usually jello, an apple crisp, fresh fruit, or jello). Very little was processed crap (I recall baked or fried chicken being served fairly often, as well as spaghetti with meat sauce, lasagna, and when they made pizza, while it was on one of those huge trays, they were definitely put together by hand and looked nothing like the shit shown on this show). The food wasn't amazing, but most of the time it was edible. Interestingly enough, when they did serve hamburgers, no one wanted them as they were so processed (and we were pretty sure at least half soy) and tasted like cardboard, and the hot dogs (beans and franks or a dog in a bun did show up on the menu 2-3 times a month) were tough and oozed preservative, not unlike hot dogs from the grocery store. The only other option we had was a salad bar, which was pretty decent by school standards, but they always ran out of it if you were on the late lunch schedule.

If you factor in the additional cost of a small bottle of milk - lowfat regular or chocolate skim (which MC referred to as disgusting and slimy :lol: ), lunch costs on average almost 3 bucks a day. It's more if a kid opts for chicken nuggets or a salad. Back in the Dark Ages (aka 1985), lunch was $1.50, which included milk.

Unless there's something very specific on the lunch menu, MC takes brown bags her lunch. After watching Jamie Oliver's show last week, she's horrified at what the school is feeding them.

What freaked me out was the overweight family's fridge/freezer that was stuffed to the hilt with frozen pizzas, as well as that disgusting fryer :yikes: :scream: . I mean, how damn difficult is it to make a stir-fry when compared to frying up a bunch of garbage, draining it, and serving it up, FFS?

If there's one good thing about this show, it's made her aware of just how crappy the eating habits for so many in the US (and around the world) have become. After seeing that segment when they made chicken nuggets, she was beyond horrified :yikes: :scream: , chewed my ass out for ever fixing them for her (which, I reminded her, I've tried to discourage her from eating them for years, but friggin' Happy Meals *had* to be it), and has vowed to never eat a processed nugget of any kind ever again. She's also told all her friends about the show, and they're planning on watching it this Friday or DVRing it for later viewing.

Allskate
04-01-2010, 06:07 PM
There is always frozen and canned foods. And frozen peas and canned spinach have similar nutritious values compared to freshly picked. This article makes some really good points about our assumptions: http://www.slate.com/id/2248882/

That article is not talking about all frozen and canned foods. It's talking about produce. I don't think Jamie's priority is doing away with frozen peas. He certainly never said it was. (There are environmental reasons for preferring local fresh produce to frozen veggies shipped in and some states or school systems do want to support the local economy, but those are different issues from the nutritional ones he's focusing on.) Frozen veggies are not what we are talking about. The frozen prepared stuff that Jamie was objecting to had a lot of artificial ingredients, unhealthy fats, and large amounts of empty calories. Those were his objections. There really is a nutritional difference between chicken nuggets and real baked chicken. And those potato "pearls" with their trans fats are very different from using the real thing. Plus, as he pointed out, in the context of grains, equating the crust from a pizza made with white flour to brown rice is really strange. If you look at a lot of the prepared foods most schools are serving, you will find lots of sugars, nutritionally empty calories, artifical colors, and artificial preservatives.

If you looked at the canned chili that schools serve, I'll bet you will find more artificial ingredients in there (and fewer beans) than in the chili that the Oregon schools are serving. And I'd certainly prefer that my kid eat that Oregon chili than eat nuggets dipped in sauce packed with corn syrup.

But, when it comes to fruit, I do think it would be better to serve fresh fruit than juice or most canned fruit. Kids already eat enough sugary foods that don't have fiber. Apple juice is definitely better than candy, but fresh apples are better. Ditto for fresh peaches versus canned peaches.

Veronika
04-01-2010, 06:36 PM
I buy mostly frozen veggies (and canned corn and beans) and some canned fruits. I like the convenience factor, and the lack of food waste. I figure canned/frozen produce is better than none at all.

That doesn't stop my mom from making fun of the fact that I like canned fruit. :shuffle:

moojja
04-01-2010, 07:29 PM
Allskate, I bought up the article because of the budget issue. Fresh foods tend to be more expensive, if the schools need to save money (and most do), frozen/canned food are a good way to do it. You can buy them in bulk and storage is not an issue. Hiring human labor to prepare the food will still be an issue, but frozen produce will still be easier to work with.
I don't like canned fruits either, too much syrup and the texture is off. But I love dried fruits, which depends on the process that can have a lot of sugar too.

Allskate
04-01-2010, 07:52 PM
I buy mostly frozen veggies (and canned corn and beans) and some canned fruits. I like the convenience factor, and the lack of food waste. I figure canned/frozen produce is better than none at all.

That doesn't stop my mom from making fun of the fact that I like canned fruit. :shuffle:

I like canned fruit, too, though as an adult I'm aware that they're high in sugar and low in fiber. (Fruit, in general, is one of my favorite things to eat.) But my mother can't make fun of me for liking canned fruit because she used to serve us canned fruit (usually in the syrup) with cottage cheese for breakfast. :lol:


Allskate, I bought up the article because of the budget issue. Fresh foods tend to be more expensive, if the schools need to save money (and most do), frozen/canned food are a good way to do it. You can buy them in bulk and storage is not an issue. Hiring human labor to prepare the food will still be an issue, but frozen produce will still be easier to work with.

Right. And for veggies, that makes sense. (And opening a can of fruit isn't really that much of a labor savings over giving a kid an apple.) I think most of the people who are advocating fresh local vegetables aren't focusing on the nutritional value. They look at what the kids will find more appealing to eat. And they look at the impact on the environment and local economy. I totally understand why most school districts make the financial decision to go with frozen or canned vegetables, which are nutritionally good. There are a few people who don't understand the economic realities, but I think most of people advocating for better nutrition in schools are not focused on whether the vegetables are canned.

But, when you're looking at other kinds of foods, I personally don't think we should be trading nutrition for convenience and labor savings with frozen nuggets, processed fatty potato products, etc. That's why I said that I think a school system wide program that increases efficiency, but produces healthy food is a way to provide nutritious and appealing meals while minimizing the price increases.

Anita18
04-01-2010, 10:01 PM
That article is not talking about all frozen and canned foods. It's talking about produce. I don't think Jamie's priority is doing away with frozen peas. He certainly never said it was. (There are environmental reasons for preferring local fresh produce to frozen veggies shipped in and some states or school systems do want to support the local economy, but those are different issues from the nutritional ones he's focusing on.) Frozen veggies are not what we are talking about. The frozen prepared stuff that Jamie was objecting to had a lot of artificial ingredients, unhealthy fats, and large amounts of empty calories. Those were his objections. There really is a nutritional difference between chicken nuggets and real baked chicken. And those potato "pearls" with their trans fats are very different from using the real thing. Plus, as he pointed out, in the context of grains, equating the crust from a pizza made with white flour to brown rice is really strange. If you look at a lot of the prepared foods most schools are serving, you will find lots of sugars, nutritionally empty calories, artifical colors, and artificial preservatives.

If you looked at the canned chili that schools serve, I'll bet you will find more artificial ingredients in there (and fewer beans) than in the chili that the Oregon schools are serving. And I'd certainly prefer that my kid eat that Oregon chili than eat nuggets dipped in sauce packed with corn syrup.

But, when it comes to fruit, I do think it would be better to serve fresh fruit than juice or most canned fruit. Kids already eat enough sugary foods that don't have fiber. Apple juice is definitely better than candy, but fresh apples are better. Ditto for fresh peaches versus canned peaches.
Actually your carbon footprint for buying frozen vegetables can be lower (and the veggies healthier) than buying fresh, depending on your location. If you live very far away from any farms, it's imperative that fresh produce gets to you before it starts to go bad. So it requires fast modes of transportation (trucks, planes), many of which use more fuel than slower modes of transportation (trains, barges). Plus frozen veggies can be flash-frozen soon after picking so the nutrients are locked in, while fresh veggies lose nutrients every day by the time they're picked.

But YMMV, definitely.

And yuck canned peaches! I can't stomach the stuff ever since the day a kid threw up on the school bus and it didn't get properly cleaned for weeks. And it smelled like canned peaches. :yikes: Fresh peaches are little slices of heaven though. :)

Prancer
04-01-2010, 10:06 PM
And yuck canned peaches! I can't stomach the stuff ever since the day a kid threw up on the school bus and it didn't get properly cleaned for weeks. And it smelled like canned peaches. :yikes: Fresh peaches are little slices of heaven though. :)

Ack! Same experience, same reaction. Just the thought of canned peaches makes me ill.

:P

Anita18
04-01-2010, 10:07 PM
Ack! Same experience, same reaction. Just the thought of canned peaches makes me ill.

:P
:rofl: This is why parents should not feed their kids canned peaches! They'll throw it up on the bus and torture all the other kids for weeks! :rofl:

Allskate
04-01-2010, 10:52 PM
Actually your carbon footprint for buying frozen vegetables can be lower (and the veggies healthier) than buying fresh, depending on your location. If you live very far away from any farms, it's imperative that fresh produce gets to you before it starts to go bad. So it requires fast modes of transportation (trucks, planes), many of which use more fuel than slower modes of transportation (trains, barges). Plus frozen veggies can be flash-frozen soon after picking so the nutrients are locked in, while fresh veggies lose nutrients every day by the time they're picked.:)

Are you sure you quoted the right person and quote? As I said my post that you quoted, there are environmental reasons for preferring local produce to shipped in frozen veggies. There are environmental costs to shipping in frozen foods. As I said in an earlier post, IMO, it's not a good idea to be shipping in prepared frozen processed foods. You are not only using energy to transport those foods, but then energy needs to be used to keep them frozen as they are stored and transported. In Oregon, they are using vegetables produced right there to make the chili for the kids, and I just don't see how that's a bad thing. [BTW, for people interested in learning about just how much energy is expended to produce some of the food we eat, even before the product is shipped to us, Michael Pollan's books are really eye-opening, especially The Omnivore's Dilemma.]

I feel like people are shooting down straw horses. Once again, in the shows I've seen, Jamie has not taken issue with the nutritional value of frozen veggies. He has taken issue with things like trans fats in "mashed potatoes," artificial ingredients and sweeteners, and processed foods like nuggets.

bobalina77
04-01-2010, 10:55 PM
I just don't like canned fruit period. It's so sweet and fake tasting. I much prefer fresh fruit.

Cyn
04-02-2010, 06:38 AM
I'll always prefer fresh fruit to canned or frozen (who wouldn't?!), but if I have to go with the canned stuff, peaches in a very light syrup is passable - the heavy syrup is beyond gross.

The king-daddy of nasty canned fruit are pears. That shit sent me running far, far away even as a kid, no matter how many processed maraschino cherries were added to "cheer" it up :scream: .

Carmen Ovsiannikov
04-02-2010, 06:50 AM
If I had kids I'd pack a lunch every day if the cafeteria didn't offer healthy choices.

This is the way my siblings and myself were raised; we carried lunch from home and ate a normal dinner every night. Every once and a while we were allowed a day to buy something from the cafeteria (pizza or a burger). But once again I guess I'm one of those from a different era.

Cyn, I never eat canned fruit. I don't know what the heck they do when they process it but it's always limp/mushy and the flavor isn't that great either. I mix fresh fruit with the fruit in the jars. In the jar still might not be as good as fresh but I find it tastes better and is fresher. I can especially tell the difference with pineapple and even the pears aren't as nasty as the in the can.